Maxim, my son, was born on March 2, 2017, at 8:55 in the morning. Today, the 26th of March, was his original due date, actually. But we decided to pull him out a little early. He came out as a mini-Maxim, 4 pounds and 3 ounces.

So far, less than a month in, what is fatherhood like? Pretty much the same as non-fatherhood, except I'm now at the beck and call of a wailing new responsibility. I know that will change as he changes, but right now I wouldn't say it's anything more complicated than that.

Raising a newborn is sort of like taking care of an infant in the Sims. It's call and response and juggling. When his comfort's down, you change his diaper. When his hunger is in the red, you feed him a bottle. When his social is falling, you play with him. When his energy's low, you put him to sleep. Sometimes you get to let yourself sleep.

So I'm mainly just filling bars. Though...this real life baby seems to have a few more meters, and the meters are far more volatile, and the meters are invisible. And sometimes the baby doesn't care about the meters. It's just like the game, if it had a hard mode.

But the most fundamental difference, I think, is this heart-welling emotion attached to those moments after the bars have been filled.

Those times when you've put him to sleep. When you've sated his hunger. When he looks up at you and you can imagine reaction and recognition in his eyes. When you realize there's nothing softer than his skin. The moments when his wide eyes and wrinkled brow make him look like the worryingest tiny old man there ever was.

So far, fatherhood is this bunch of things.

It's one part satisfaction of a job well-done. It's one part innate response to a tiny thing with giant eyes. It's one part bleary confusion from being drunk tired. It's one part fulfilling teamwork with my wife. It's one part impatient and eager expectation of the future. It's one part happiness. It's one part hope.

It's both aww and awe, wrapped up in a single tiny package that fits in the cradle of your arms. It's entirely fun.

Andrei Marks

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